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Spotlight on Success: August 2020

Spotlight on success

Each month we publish a selection of key Teaching & Learning and Research achievements and developments. See August's news below.

Awards & Prizes

  • Careers awarded National AGCAS Award for Excellence 2020 Supporting Student / Graduate Employability Award for their #RDGGrad career development programme. This initiative increased our Finalists' participation in careers activities from 1789 learning hours in 2017-18 to 5666 learning hours in 2019-20 - more than 1,500 learning hours per year.
  • Dr Kate Clanchy (English Literature) has been awarded the prestigious Orwell Prize for Political Writing, for her book, Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me. The book tells the story of how Clanchy, in her role as Writer in Residence at Oxford Spires Academy, has spent the last decade teaching its pupils, many of whom are refugees from all over the world, to write poetry about their experiences and feelings.
  • Dr Sakthi Vaiyapuri (Pharmacy) has been awarded the Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship by the Royal Society to further his work on treatments for snakebites.
  • Dr Jane Parker (Food & Bioprocessing Sciences (FaBS)) from the Flavour Centre was part of a team that won the Royal Society of Chemistry Inspirational Committee Award for their work to develop a periodic table for food chemistry. Find out more on the Royal Society of Chemistry website.
  • Dr Blessing Mbipom, (Knowledge Transfer Centre (KTC)) and the research team at RedWhale have been shortlisted for the 2020 Knowledge Transfer Network for their work to develop online Continuing Professional Development (CPD) training for GPs and other medical staff. The training is available 24/ as an alternative or to supplement face-to-face training. Find out more on our research webpages
  • Professor Rodney Jones and Dr Sylvia Jaworska (Linguistics) have gained funding from the British Academy Special Research Grants: COVID 19 for the project: Quarantined between cultures: Overcoming communication challenges and building resilience among Chinese students residing in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Professor Emma Borg (Philosophy) has gained funding from the British Academy Special Research Grants: COVID 19 for the project: Reshaping relations between the state and the private sector post-COVID-19? This project will explore the feasibility of adopting a 'social licence framework', based on the Enlightenment thesis of 'doux commerce' and social contract theory, and make recommendations for regulatory changes.
  • Dr Sally Lloyd-Evans (Geography) has been given the University of Reading's first Public Engagement with Community Research Fellowship. Dr Lloyd-Evans will be leading the University's strategic commitment as a civic university.
  • Heritage & Creativity researchers have been successful with two British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellowship Awards this year:
    • Dr Oliver Baldwin (Classics)has received funding for a 3-year project on‘Queer Tragedy' exploring queer readings of classical literature, and
    • Dr Claire Hodson (Archaeology)has received funding for the 3-year project:‘Bringing up Baby': Investigating Early Life Course Experiences and Health in Fetal and Perinatal Individuals, using skeletons to determine detrimental birth outcomes and contextualising findings within the social worlds in which the individuals lived.
  • Dr Aleks Pluskowski (Archaeology)was recently awarded an honorary doctorate at the University of Tartu, Estonia (the first in Archaeology in the history of the institution) for "prominent achievements in the field of medieval archaeology and long-term successful cooperation with scientists from the University of Tartu".


  • National Student Survey (NSS) Results 2020 showed 84% of undergraduate final year students are satisfied with their overall experience at the University of Reading. This is above the sector average of 83%. Our students reported improved satisfaction across most areas, including ‘Learning resources' (from 75% to 80%), ‘Student Voice' (67% to 71%) and ‘Organisation and management' (from 76% to 78%). ‘Organisation and management' (78%) and ‘Learning community' (77%) are both above the sector averages of 74% and 76% respectively. Find out more about this year's NSS results in our news story here.
  • Virtual Graduation celebrations began on Monday 27 July and will be active for 3 weeks. The Events and Graduation Teams have lined up a programme of exciting virtual activities for this years' finalists. This includes setting up a virtual environment, called FlipGrid, for students, colleagues and supporters to post congratulatory messages and videos. The teams have also been working with Schools to set up their own virtual congratulatory events. See the virtual celebrations page for more information and to view School FlipGrids.
  • Art students have produced virtual exhibitions on social media this year entitled ‘Asbestos Streams'. Many of the exhibits were displayed in the homes of the artists themselves, providing a glimpse into how the students have remained creative and overcome challenging circumstances to produce spectacular final pieces. See our story here and the exhibition can be accessed online.
  • BA Primary Education with Art Y3 Online Exhibition was successfully held virtually this year. The exhibition, which is the culmination of three years of hard work and committed visual research, was re-imagined and transformed into a digital format this year. A selection of the portfolios, with student consent, will also feature on the National Society for Education in Art and Design website, modelling excellent practice for other university art/education departments. This continues to position us as a flagship of excellent art and education practice at national level. Read the full story here.
  • Dr Dina Rezk (History), who is one of the Arts and Humanities Research Council's New Generation Thinkers, wrote and presented a programme for BBC Radio 3's The Essay about the use of humour as a form of political protest and the work of an Egyptian satirist who gained prominence during the Arab Spring uprising. The programme can be accessed here.
  • Professor Annalisa Marzano (Classics)has been elected as a Fellowinthesection for Classics and Oriental studies in the AcademiaEuropaea.
  • Professor Duncan Garrow (Archaeology) and Neil Wilkin (British Museum)were successful in an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) application relating to the upcoming World of Stonehenge exhibition at the British Museum (now scheduled for February 2022). They will interrogate the strengths and weaknesses of the hugely influential 'symbols of power' approach to material culture and develop new approaches to later prehistoric objects in museum displays and storerooms, rethinking the role of and reframing 'unique' or 'iconic' objects.
  • The Royal Society Summer Exhibition was held online between 13 and 17 July and featured the Soil Security Programme's exhibition stand in 2018. Next year's line-up was announced, including Reading's Beware: Floods Ahead exhibit in collaboration with ECMWF (postponed from 2020), with Professor Hannah Cloke as academic lead.

Click here to see all recent University of Reading research publications.

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